Sledding trips for the whole family
By Anna Fader
Sledding is what makes winter a wonderland: it’s what makes bells jingle, how we get over the river and through the woods, and the reason a child’s heart bursts with excitement when he wakes up in the morning to find the world covered in white (apart from the prospect of no school). Sailing down a hill in that pristine whiteness is what kids dream of, and truth be told, even some very grown-up parents feel a touch of the old thrill. If you don’t have a neighborhood hill, pack the family into the Equinox and head to one of these great destinations to create the best snow-filled family memories:
Snow Tubing and Tobogganing
No sled? No problem. Many ski areas—particularly the smaller resorts—have popular snow tubing zones, complete with lifts, tubes and augmented snow. From Nashoba Valley near Boston and Yawgoo Valley in Rhode Island to Southern California’s North Pole Tubing Park and Mount Baldy, loads of smaller or older ski areas cater to non-skiers who just want a little down-hill fun. Even New Yorkers and Los Angelenos have plenty of winter tubing options to pick from without driving too far.
Toboggan runs also require no sled and can send families speeding through snow and ice together, stacked in a neat, photogenic row. A short drive from Cleveland, The Chalet at Mill Stream Run Reservation refrigerates its toboggan run to keep it open all season long, regardless of snowfall. The same is true of the quarter-mile toboggan run at Pokagon Park, just a couple of hours from either Chicago or Indianapolis.
Maybe your family has a Flexible Flyer or a couple of saucers in the garage and really just wants to take a drive somewhere to enjoy a free day of downhill action. Most cities with regular snowfall have spots known to generations of locals, but if you’re passing through for the weekend, these treasured runs can be hard to track down. Try checking out a couple of these city parks with great sledding hills:
Eastern Promenade Park, Portland, Maine
It’s going to take a lot of global warming before Maine sees a winter without snow. Families in Portland have been sledding the Eastern Prom for as long as there have been people to say, “You can’t get there from here.”
Highland Park, Rochester, New York
Upstate New York is another no-brainer for finding snow in winter. Rochester families dependably gather en masse at Highland Park to enjoy plenty of gentle rolling hills with great views.
Dan Ryan Forest Preserve, Chicago, Illinois
Ask your magic eight ball if it will snow in Chicago this year; if it says anything other than “yes,” you need a new magic eight ball. Word under the L is that the best family sledding in the city is at Dan Ryan Woods.
Roger Williams Park, Providence, Rhode Island
It doesn’t snow every weekend in Rhode Island, but when it does, city kids head for the same hills their grandparents used to squeal down, aiming their Flexible Flyers for the Temple of Music at the park’s center.
Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When the snow inevitably falls in Pittsburgh, the hills of Frick Park become the place to be. Head for the area by the blue slide.
Lindsey Gardens, Salt Lake City, Utah
There are enough hills with enough snow in Salt Lake to cause a few chilly debates over which sledding hill is the best; Lindsey Gardens usually comes out on top.
Whitnall Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The advantage of living in the chilly north is a city park that has it all: a fabulous free sledding hill as well as a pay-to-slide toboggan run.
Ready to load up the crossover? Be sure your kids play safe (just like we did, right?), and don’t be surprised if the back seat becomes strangely quiet on the way home.
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This is the second in a series of sledding stories on Chevy Culture.
Anna Fader is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Mommy Poppins, the ultimate insider city guide and family travel blog for families in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut.